Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
How do you answer this question in med school interviews? I was asked this question and I just went on a long ramble. I did not know what to include, so I just talked about anything I thought was relevant.

Should I just talk about things like hobbies, a bit about my education and work experiences? Or should I talk in greater length about my research, volunteer, etc?

Thank you so much!
 

2010houston

10+ Year Member
Jun 17, 2009
357
151
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Personally when I interview I like answers that start with where you came from (“I grew up in xxx and have 2 younger sisters, then I moved to yyy for college, and now I’m working in zzz”), then get into what you’re doing now (“I’m studying English and working on my final thesis papers for graduation”), and then talk about hobbies and interests and what makes you “you”. That certainly can also include research / volunteering / etc, but be sure to spend some time talking about things that have no academic value too. It makes you interesting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
64,937
99,784
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
How do you answer this question in med school interviews? I was asked this question and I just went on a long ramble. I did not know what to include, so I just talked about anything I thought was relevant.

Should I just talk about things like hobbies, a bit about my education and work experiences? Or should I talk in greater length about my research, volunteer, etc?

Thank you so much!
Pretend long lost cousin Vinnie comes ot visit you from Brooklyn and says, "So Toitle, tell me about yaself"

What do you tell him?

It's a not a question that has to do with Medicine or medical school.
 
  • Haha
  • Like
Reactions: 10 users
About the Ads
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Personally when I interview I like answers that start with where you came from (“I grew up in xxx and have 2 younger sisters, then I moved to yyy for college, and now I’m working in zzz”), then get into what you’re doing now (“I’m studying English and working on my final thesis papers for graduation”), and then talk about hobbies and interests and what makes you “you”. That certainly can also include research / volunteering / etc, but be sure to spend some time talking about things that have no academic value too. It makes you interesting.

Thank you so much, I will follow this script. It makes sense. I did not think about the things that have no academic value. I will do that, thank you again.

Pretend long lost cousin Vinnie comes ot visit you from Brooklyn and says, "So Toitle, tell me about yaself"

What do you tell him?

It's a not a question that has to do with Medicine or medical school.
Thank you for this. I was not aware of this, to be honest. So my answer focused only on medical school, but I will change that now.

I guess, I will try to keep it just a few minutes. Last interview, I mostly recited my resume. Thank you both again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Goro

SDN Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Jun 11, 2010
64,937
99,784
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
I did not think about the things that have no academic value.

I was not aware of this, to be honest. So my answer focused only on medical school, but I will change that now.
These are major failings in the mindset of many premeds...they think everything has to do with Medicine, even questions about their favorite sports teams.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
Feb 4, 2020
49
149
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
This is a good opportunity to not just rehash what they can read on your application too. Is there anything else besides interest in medicine that you define yourself by? I have realized since starting med school how much at least my school cares about reflective practice- can you voice in words something about yourself that makes an interviewer think "wow, this person is thoughtful and in-tune"? What makes you proud to be yourself besides what your GPA and MCAT is or what lab you did research in? Your chronological history can be a good framework, but see if you can have a reflection or two to share that dig a little deeper as well. It can seem like a rough ice-breaker question to just start the interview off, but I think you can definitely use it to your advantage to make a great first impression as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
These are major failings in the mindset of many premeds...they think everything has to do with Medicine, even questions about their favorite sports teams.
Thank you Goro. Indeed, I was rejected just one week after that interview. I am not sure if it was this question was the reason, but I definitely think my answer created a bad impression.
 
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
This is a good opportunity to not just rehash what they can read on your application too. Is there anything else besides interest in medicine that you define yourself by? I have realized since starting med school how much at least my school cares about reflective practice- can you voice in words something about yourself that makes an interviewer think "wow, this person is thoughtful and in-tune"? What makes you proud to be yourself besides what your GPA and MCAT is or what lab you did research in? Your chronological history can be a good framework, but see if you can have a reflection or two to share that dig a little deeper as well. It can seem like a rough ice-breaker question to just start the interview off, but I think you can definitely use it to your advantage to make a great first impression as well.

Thank you. These are some very good points. I enjoy reading and play the piano also. Do you think I should mention that? Thank you again.
 

clumsy.md

2+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2018
313
505
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student (Accepted)
I recommend watching a couple of Youtube videos on this (e.g. Shemmassian has a good one). Mentioning your hobbies (like piano and reading) and life outside of school/medicine helps paint a fuller picture. For instance, after telling interviewers that I grew up in a city near some large mountains, I used it as an opportunity to tell them how it defined my love for physical activity through hobbies such as skiing, biking, running, etc.

As this question is usually the first, you can often play it to your advantage by leading the interviewers into talking about things that make you a great applicant. The majority of my interviews were closed file so by mentioning my full-time position at 'X' or volunteering at 'X' in passing, it provided my interviewers an opportunity to return to those things if they wanted to know more (most ended up asking follow-up questions). Again, the interviewer doesn't need rambling or your life's story. I roughly rehearsed my answer to this question more than anything so I could keep it concise and interesting.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users

Drsecondchance

2+ Year Member
Dec 8, 2018
556
787
I like to do 3 professional things followed by 3 personal... it keeps me from rambling. Something such as, "Well professionally, I have degrees in [making stuff up here for some modicum of anonymity] music and in chemistry, I'm a former pharmacist and now I'm completing my Master's degree in physical chemistry. More personally, my husband and I built our cabin in underserved area X, we have 3 guinea pigs and a duck, and I'm a published novelist, something I'm really proud of. " How does that work?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

LizzyM

the evil queen of numbers
15+ Year Member
Mar 7, 2005
25,018
41,799
Candor Chasma
Status (Visible)
  1. Academic Administration
I like to do 3 professional things followed by 3 personal... it keeps me from rambling. Something such as, "Well professionally, I have degrees in [making stuff up here for some modicum of anonymity] music and in chemistry, I'm a former pharmacist and now I'm completing my Master's degree in physical chemistry. More personally, my husband and I built our cabin in underserved area X, we have 3 guinea pigs and a duck, and I'm a published novelist, something I'm really proud of. " How does that work?
That's good. This question is often asked by someone who didn't have time to read your application and needs something to direct further questions. It is your chance to highlight what you'd most like to talk about Some people would throw in something about their clinical experience and/or research activity, particularly if it is current and has been long-term. Something personal is good, too, as it is an opportunity to connect with someone around a shared interest or just help the interviewer see you as a multi-dimentional person.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 5 users

Matthew9Thirtyfive

Do it.
Staff member
Administrator
Volunteer Staff
5+ Year Member
Jan 11, 2016
22,027
39,016
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
I like to do 3 professional things followed by 3 personal... it keeps me from rambling. Something such as, "Well professionally, I have degrees in [making stuff up here for some modicum of anonymity] music and in chemistry, I'm a former pharmacist and now I'm completing my Master's degree in physical chemistry. More personally, my husband and I built our cabin in underserved area X, we have 3 guinea pigs and a duck, and I'm a published novelist, something I'm really proud of. " How does that work?

This is a great way to answer this question.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 4 users

Frazier

Palliative Emergentologist
10+ Year Member
Nov 12, 2009
4,720
2,432
US
Status (Visible)
  1. Fellow [Any Field]
Keep in mind if the interview is blinded or not. Overall, you want to stay generally concise instead of verbose -- but if they know a good bit about you from paper, you can save that valuable bandwidth for more interesting things than "I'm originally from X, went to school at Y, I want to go into medicine because Z"
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
About the Ads
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I recommend watching a couple of Youtube videos on this (e.g. Shemmassian has a good one). Mentioning your hobbies (like piano and reading) and life outside of school/medicine helps paint a fuller picture. For instance, after telling interviewers that I grew up in a city near some large mountains, I used it as an opportunity to tell them how it defined my love for physical activity through hobbies such as skiing, biking, running, etc.

As this question is usually the first, you can often play it to your advantage by leading the interviewers into talking about things that make you a great applicant. The majority of my interviews were closed file so by mentioning my full-time position at 'X' or volunteering at 'X' in passing, it provided my interviewers an opportunity to return to those things if they wanted to know more (most ended up asking follow-up questions). Again, the interviewer doesn't need rambling or your life's story. I roughly rehearsed my answer to this question more than anything so I could keep it concise and interesting.
Thank you, I will practice my answer for this. Your personal example certainly sounds interesting.
I like to do 3 professional things followed by 3 personal... it keeps me from rambling. Something such as, "Well professionally, I have degrees in [making stuff up here for some modicum of anonymity] music and in chemistry, I'm a former pharmacist and now I'm completing my Master's degree in physical chemistry. More personally, my husband and I built our cabin in underserved area X, we have 3 guinea pigs and a duck, and I'm a published novelist, something I'm really proud of. " How does that work?
Thank you. It should very good and easy to remember. I will definitely follow it, thank you again.
 

capriccio

2+ Year Member
Aug 9, 2016
237
571
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
As someone who felt like they bumbled through that question slightly differently in every interview, but is now on the other side of things (student interviewer), I feel like I ask that question to probe what that person likes and enjoys doing (either past or present), so that I can start a more natural conversation with them.

This is even after I've already read PS and activities list—I find that people will sometimes bring up things that are not necessarily covered extensively in their application, but they evidently feel is important/notable enough to them to talk about when introducing themselves in-person. Helps me cover my bases.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

riverrunner

2+ Year Member
Sep 5, 2018
68
78
Mainly I can't stop thinking about guinea pigs and ducks. Is it OK to say you have those even if you don't?
 
  • Haha
Reactions: 1 user
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
As someone who felt like they bumbled through that question slightly differently in every interview, but is now on the other side of things (student interviewer), I feel like I ask that question to probe what that person likes and enjoys doing (either past or present), so that I can start a more natural conversation with them.

This is even after I've already read PS and activities list—I find that people will sometimes bring up things that are not necessarily covered extensively in their application, but they evidently feel is important/notable enough to them to talk about when introducing themselves in-person. Helps me cover my bases.
Thank you
 
May 30, 2020
79
13
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
How do you answer this question in med school interviews? I was asked this question and I just went on a long ramble. I did not know what to include, so I just talked about anything I thought was relevant.

Should I just talk about things like hobbies, a bit about my education and work experiences? Or should I talk in greater length about my research, volunteer, etc?

Thank you so much!
Just be honest and genuine! :) That is always the way to go.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

CricB4Tube

2+ Year Member
Apr 9, 2018
165
455
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
If they've already asked the "why medicine" or "why school of xxx" then I answer it with completely personal stuff like hobbies and what not. If it's the first question of the interview, I make it a longer answer about where I came from, what I'm doing right now, and what my motivations are in medicine and in outside life. Also, if you have a dog(s) and you're a dog lover, talk about your dogs. Every time I've brought up my dogs in an interview, adcoms/interviewers seem to love it. I even brought my dogs into one interview on the webcam (and got accepted at that school).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Nov 15, 2020
41
95
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
How do you answer this question in med school interviews? I was asked this question and I just went on a long ramble. I did not know what to include, so I just talked about anything I thought was relevant.

Should I just talk about things like hobbies, a bit about my education and work experiences? Or should I talk in greater length about my research, volunteer, etc?

Thank you so much!
I agree that having some topic organization and a plan on what to share about different areas is good. I think of it as a glimpse into a few areas of your life that show who you are, what you care about, what passions you have. I would also plan to include anecdotes, so have a short, fun, interesting example. If you say you enjoy music, think of something interesting or even quirky that will make someone laugh or be inspired....like I love to play the guitar, every year some friends and I sing Elvis songs at one of the local nursing homes... we even invite them to get up and dance....so you create a good visual picture for the interviewer. Also start and end with your best stories and examples, because these will be remembered the best. (Obviously, drawing on that Psych/Soc we had to learn!)
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Oct 14, 2020
21
41
If they've already asked the "why medicine" or "why school of xxx" then I answer it with completely personal stuff like hobbies and what not. If it's the first question of the interview, I make it a longer answer about where I came from, what I'm doing right now, and what my motivations are in medicine and in outside life. Also, if you have a dog(s) and you're a dog lover, talk about your dogs. Every time I've brought up my dogs in an interview, adcoms/interviewers seem to love it. I even brought my dogs into one interview on the webcam (and got accepted at that school).
Just gotta say, you win the profile pic award of the day!
 
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
If they've already asked the "why medicine" or "why school of xxx" then I answer it with completely personal stuff like hobbies and what not. If it's the first question of the interview, I make it a longer answer about where I came from, what I'm doing right now, and what my motivations are in medicine and in outside life. Also, if you have a dog(s) and you're a dog lover, talk about your dogs. Every time I've brought up my dogs in an interview, adcoms/interviewers seem to love it. I even brought my dogs into one interview on the webcam (and got accepted at that school).

Thank you. They usually ask the question at the beginning, at least in my experience.
 
Jun 25, 2020
146
58
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
I agree that having some topic organization and a plan on what to share about different areas is good. I think of it as a glimpse into a few areas of your life that show who you are, what you care about, what passions you have. I would also plan to include anecdotes, so have a short, fun, interesting example. If you say you enjoy music, think of something interesting or even quirky that will make someone laugh or be inspired....like I love to play the guitar, every year some friends and I sing Elvis songs at one of the local nursing homes... we even invite them to get up and dance....so you create a good visual picture for the interviewer. Also start and end with your best stories and examples, because these will be remembered the best. (Obviously, drawing on that Psych/Soc we had to learn!)
Thank you.
 
About the Ads

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.